One must put away childish things

Pixar is money, pure and simple. They have raised the bar on the animated film, having mastered the ability to engage a child while still holding the interest of an adult. The Toy Story series has always been pretty kid-centric but not without its mature themes. Toy Story 3 heads into infinity and almost beyond adult territory (No, not THAT adult territory), with emphasis on themes like growing up, life changes and even dictatorship. Don’t worry; the cute toys are still there. I did say almost.

Those familiar with the series will remember Andy, owner of Woody the cowboy (Tom Hanks) and Buzz Lightyear the action figure (Tim Allen) amongst a great many other toys. In the original Toy Story, Woody and Buzz battled each other for the honor of being the most favored among all of Andy’s toys. In Toy Story 2, Buzz and Woody started to face the idea that the day will come when Andy will no longer needs them. In Toy Story 3, that day has come. Andy’s off to college.

I was struck by how much of this film was actually kind of a downer. This isn’t a criticism necessarily; it’s just that this may leave some kids wanting. Things go from being sad to downright bleak as the toys vacillate between the idea of either being in toy limbo (the attic) or toy hell (the dump). They think they’ve gotten lucky when they end up donated to a daycare facility. Instead, they discover that they’re in toy Uganda. The Pixar crew does eventually bring things back around to provide a sweet, tear-jerking ending and a fitting finale for the series as a whole, but still.

I am a sucker for Pixar’s films. If their name is on it, odds are it’s worth seeing. Toy Story 3 is no exception, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that this wasn’t one of my favorites. It’s very, very good, but I think I’d still take either of the first two over this one. A strong argument could be made that this film was nominated for Best Picture simply because Wall-E and Up probably should have been in the years prior. Odds are it won’t win both Best Picture and Best Animated Feature, so if I had to guess I’d say it’s more likely to take the later. That being said, The Illusionist might sneak away with that one. Could this be the first year in a good long while that we can no longer refer to the Best Animated Feature award as the Best Pixar Award?

Toy Story 3 is nominated for Best Picture, Best Animated Feature Film, Best Music (Original Song), Best Sound Editing & Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

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